Another quick update on what all our young makers at Stem Club have been up to. We’re rapidly heading towards the end of term so that means it’s time for our big end of term projects.
Our Tuesday and Thursday groups have starting work on building Portable Amplifiers. These are powered by a 9v battery and based around a small circuit that uses the LM386 chip. This session started with everyone sanding their pieces of Ply (pre-cut on the CNC) and wood staining them. Then we got stuck into soldering the board together.
Over the last couple of terms these groups have developed some pretty impressive soldering skills and there will be another opportunity to put these into practice next week as we pull together the various components needed to make this board fully functional.
Our Weekend classes have also started a challenging project. Having spent lots of time learning about the Arduino Uno boards we decided it was time to get everyone using one to its full potential. Cue our Bugbot project…
We started by having a look at some of the amazing robots out there in the world, noting how many of them have been influenced by animals.
Our BugBots certainly look as though they’ve been influence by nature and we’re using ‘feelers’ to tell us when we’ve run into something.
The first step was to glue together a couple of our laser cut pieces - the wheels and battery holder (that sits on our Bots back).
Then it was back into the soldering and assembling, starting with our geared motor mechanism and power switch.
Once that was done the glue on our main MDF board was dry enough to allow everyone to get out the spray paint and decorate their robot frame. There were lots of different colours available so in a couple of weeks we will have some very vibrant Bots heading out into the world.
Some of the groups even got into mounting their Arduino and Motor Controller onto the Perspex sheet that forms the base of the Bot.
And that's pretty much where we got to. Next week we’ve got some quite complicated LED mechanisms to build, as each ‘feeler’ has an RGB LED on the end of it. Actually there’s quite a few gloriously fiddly bits with this thing so there will be a lot of patience required.
Once these bugs go home everyone will have a functioning programmable robot that they built and can modify as much as they like. I think that’s pretty awesome!